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Signed, Sealed, Delivered: How Shipping Prices and Timing Influences Purchase Decisions

One of the major challenges for any ecommerce business owner is shipping and delivery. It’s one of the areas where brick and mortar stores have an advantage because customers shopping at a physical store can leave with their goods at the time of purchase, whereas customers in an ecommerce store often pay extra for shipping and then wait for their goods to be delivered. As such, there are a lot of consumer expectations about shipping, which is why your policies could be positively or negatively influencing your customers’ purchasing decisions.

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The Link Between Shipping Fees, Delivery Times, and Conversion

Did you know the average abandoned cart rate for ecommerce stores is 68 percent, and shipping rates and delivery times account for nearly 50 percent of those abandonments? Moreover, about 95 percent of customers who buy online say that they take shipping prices into consideration when shopping, which means that there are people who simply will not buy from you if your rates are too high. Considering the amount of growth that’s happening in ecommerce, problematic shipping costs and delivery times could be accounting for huge losses.

Benefits of Free Shipping

Online shoppers are drawn to free shipping the way opposite sides of a magnet are attracted to one another. In fact, a free shipping offer is so irresistible that it often works better to secure a sale than a discount that’s worth more. The promise of free shipping not only translates to larger shopping carts, but it also increases the average price of the items in each cart, and all of this results in one thing: increased sales for you.

While free shipping can be an expensive cost to many businesses, especially smaller ones, there are ways you can offset the cost to yourself and still offer your customers a great benefit. For instance, instead of offering free shipping across the board, you can have pricing thresholds wherein customers are only eligible for free shipping if their order meets or exceeds a certain price point.

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Delivery Time and Customer Loyalty

Just as the majority of consumers are influenced by shipping rates, they base purchasing decisions on delivery speed. Nearly 50 percent of customers are willing to pay extra for faster shipping, and particularly same-day delivery. Not even the free shipping incentive is powerful enough to counteract slow delivery times, and most customers agree that free shipping wouldn’t entice them to make a purchase if they’d have to wait two or more weeks for delivery. But delivery time isn’t just important for purchasing decisions, it also builds trust between customers and your company, because order delivery is equivalent to you making good on a promise to each customer who places an order.

Visibility Is Also Key

It’s not enough to offer reasonable shipping rates and delivery times—it’s also vital that information about shipping and delivery be highly visible on your website. Otherwise, customers will add items to their carts, start the checkout process, and leave when they find out the rates. Moreover, about half of all consumers won’t even bother trying to make a purchase from a company if they can’t find shipping and delivery policies easily on the website. And if you want to improve the customer experience, even more, consider keeping customers in the loop with shipping status updates, tracking numbers, and other notifications.

Shipping rates and delivery times are hugely impactful on ecommerce customers, and if your rates are too high or your delivery times too long, you could be losing out on a great deal more business than you thought. Online customers expect their goods to be delivered affordably and quickly, and they will go elsewhere if your company can’t promise this. So, how’s your shipping and delivery game?

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